In the last shot of season one of the Fallout Amazon Prime TV series, Hank MacLean crests a hill, and on the horizon, we see it—a beacon in the desolation of the post-apocalyptic desert: New Vegas. Fans of the games have long hailed Fallout: New Vegas as the absolute best of Fallout, and season two of the Fallout series seems like it will take us right to the legendary City of Sin. To prepare new fans and give old-hats a bit of a refresher course, here’s everything you need to know about Fallout‘s New Vegas and the Mojave Wasteland.

Golden sky over New Vegas and the desert in Fallout
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Jump to: What Is Fallout‘s New Vegas? // New Vegas and the New California Republic // Fallout: New Vegas and the Battles of the Hoover Dam // New Vegas in the Fallout Series vs. the Games // The Fallout Series Could Bring a New New Vegas

What Is Fallout‘s New Vegas?

Prime Video

With the pre-war world of the games and show locked in a 1950s limbo, even in 2077, New Vegas brings all the same ‘old’ Vegas vibes, but with that touch of radiation (and cannibalism sometimes, whoops!) that makes it so uniquely Fallout. 

Now, while patrolling the Mojave might make you wish for a nuclear winter, the games frame it as one of the more civilized areas in post-war America. While getting torn to shreds by Deathclaws or murdered by roving raider packs are still risks, there’s an actual semblance of law and order in Fallout‘s New Vegas and its environs, thanks to the NCR—and debatably, Mr. House.

Mr. House Helped Las Vegas Escape Nuclear Doom in the Fallout Games

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Speaking of the man himself, Las Vegas is one of the few United States cities that was at least somewhat spared from nuclear fire in Fallout‘s world. However, despite the location, that wasn’t Lady Luck at work, but rather Mr. House. We see a brief cameo of House in the Fallout TV series. Show-only fans may recall he was at the summit of all the major corporate powers, representing Rob-Co. He also was the only one that questioned Vault-Tec’s brilliant plan to nuke the planet.

In Fallout: New Vegas canon, Mr. House had the foresight to equip his casino in Las Vegas, the Lucky 38 (the tall, Stratosphere-esque building seen in the last shot of season one) with radar-jammers, missile arrays, a laser defense grid, and life support systems, all in the hopes of sparing Las Vegas from armageddon. Mr. House’s efforts bore surprisingly undamaged fruit compared to every other major city in the US. Sixty-eight of the seventy-seven nuclear ICBMs fired at New Vegas were destroyed before they made impact.

Fallout‘s New Vegas Is a Reminder of the Pre-War World

Obsidian Entertainment

After a quick fifty-year coma, House began to plot his city’s long-term survival—and his own. With his ruthless businessman acumen (and an army of Securitrons) House transformed the derelict Las Vegas strip, dominated by competing tribes and raiders in his absence, into a beautiful monument to the world that once was. Or, if you want to be less romantic about it, he made the most fun place in all of post-apocalyptica to get hammered and lose all your money. House keeps an iron grip on Fallout‘s New Vegas, using the Three Families—the Chairmen, Omertas, and White Glove Society—to staff the Strip’s three casinos. 

New Vegas is like a dream for the people of the Mojave Wasteland in Fallout. But given the steep credit check required to enter, this bastion of pre-war debauchery remains beyond reach for many wastelanders. For those who can pay, though, it feels like, for a moment, maybe the Great War never happened at all. 

New Vegas Strikes a Deal with Fallout‘s New California Republic (NCR)

Bethesda Game Studios

In 2274, the New California Republic (NCR) set out to restore Hoover Dam, a crucial resource for just about everyone in the American Southwest—and massive enough to provide power for the entire Republic. House saw the writing on the wall. Given its proximity to Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport (an obvious potential base of operations for the NCR) and the money-making opportunity presented by the Strip (the NCR does LOVE its taxes), it was only a matter of time before Fallout‘s New California Republic would attempt to annex New Vegas.

So, House did what he does best: he struck a deal with the NCR. The NCR gets McCarran and an embassy on the Strip, and in exchange, NCR citizens are allowed to come and go freely from New Vegas. Mr. House would remain the city’s sovereign ruler, and the New California Republic would earmark 5% of Hoover Dam’s power for New Vegas alone. 

This is the status quo in 2281, when Fallout: New Vegas begins.

Fallout: New Vegas and the Battles of the Hoover Dam

Obsidian Entertainment

Although we feel the scars from the First Battle of Hoover Dam throughout Fallout: New Vegas, it’s the Second Battle of Hoover Dam that drives the story. The first battle saw Caesar’s Legion, a group of Roman-style slavers who dominate most of the territory east of the Colorado River, attempt to take the dam. But Caesar’s Legion ultimately ends up rebuffed and nearly destroyed by the New California Republic in 2277. By the time Fallout: New Vegas starts, the Legion has rebuilt and is ready for round two. They don’t just want the dam. They want the entire New California Republic under their control.

Wizards of the Coast

That’s where player choice factors into Fallout: New Vegas and where many of our biggest questions surrounding the fate of New Vegas, the Hoover Dam, Mr. House, and the New California Republic in the Fallout series arise. 

What We Know About New Vegas from the Fallout Series vs. The Games

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The Fallout series makes one very significant timeline change to the franchise’s world: the fall of Shady Sands. When Lucy is in one of the classrooms of Vault 4, she sees an image labeled “The Fall of Shady Sands,” dated 2277, four years before the events of New Vegas. In contrast, during the events of the New Vegas game, Shady Sands is reported to be just fine, still the thriving capital of the New California Republic.

In a recent interview with Forbes, Todd Howard confirmed that the events of Fallout: New Vegas are canon and that the timeline has not been interrupted by the series. But given that Fallout: New Vegas has multiple endings, that still doesn’t give us many answers. 

The Current State of New Vegas and the New California Republic Remain a Mystery

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The Fallout series has kept fairly quiet about the New California Republic’s exact state. They’re clearly struggling to hold on in Shady Sands and the Boneyard (Los Angeles). With such a massive blow struck at such a critical point, does that mean that the show’s NCR lost the First Battle of Hoover Dam? 

In Fallout: New Vegas, the player steps into a politically fraught Mojave, with the NCR and Legion locked in a conflict that could change the face of the wasteland forever. But in the show, was there no second battle this time? Did the Legion win the first, and subsequently absorb and enslave the people of the Mojave? 

We could be looking at Fallout‘s New California Republic at its absolute weakest. This would offer a lot of new story-telling opportunities for the show, including potentially showing us both the fall and potential rise again of the NCR in a way the games themselves don’t detail. For now, all we have is questions. Did the Legion take New Vegas for themselves? Could House’s Securitron army protect the Strip? If not, did Caesar reign supreme, only to still die of cancer in 2281, like in the game? Without Caesar to maintain the Legion’s sycophantic cult of personality, the Legion could be facing its own crisis. And, of course, how does Fallout‘s Vault-Tec factor into the goings-on in New Vegas?

The Fallout Series Could Bring a New New Vegas

Prime Video

The fact that the only canon character we see from the games in the Fallout series (besides Dogmeat, kind of) is Robert House is extremely telling. With the show exploring the pre-war world through the fascinating lens of Cooper Howard (Walton Goggins), it feels likely that we’ll see more of House next season, maybe even a live-action version of his husk of a centuries-old body, kept alive by machines and entrepreneurial spirit.

In my humble opinion, New Vegas has likely maintained its sovereignty, and Mr. House remains in charge, regardless of what is going on in the rest of the Mojave. The player character (“Courier Six”) in Fallout: New Vegas ultimately determines whether House, the NCR, the Legion, or the player themself rules New Vegas moving forward in Fallout. And it’ll be up to the writers to determine which path is ultimately canon.

An uncertain NCR. House anywhere from sovereign to deposed. A Brotherhood that appears far stronger in the show than in New Vegas canon, and the Legion as one huge question mark—boy, am I eager to find out what’s next for Lucy, Coop, and Max in the Fallout series!

Jess is a writer, musician, and self-professed obsessive. They have many loves, but they are particularly haunted by Supernatural, House MD, Good Omens, Fallout, and Naruto.